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Alternative Break Leadership Experiences

Alternative Break Leadership Experiences are one of the core programs of the Office of Service Leadership that allow college students to engage in immersive service experiences outside of the campus community and learn more about social issues affecting today's society. Each experience offers students an opportunity to build new relationships with other students, staff, and faculty in and out of the classroom, travel outside of the campus community, and have a life-changing experience through service. In addition to traveling and serving, students will have a chance to learn more about social issues in their community. In the past, trips have focused on urban poverty, homelessness, food insecurity, disaster relief, youth education, and international development. Please see the experiences offerings for more details on each experience. 

Our Experience Offerings for the 2014 - 2015 School Year:

Fall Experiences

Fall Urban Experience: Friday, November 14th - Sunday, November 16th

Total Cost: $55/team member

For the fourth year, this Fall Alternative Break Experience will focus on serving the homeless population of Portland. This year, we will be partnering with organizations around the downtown area who are working to alleviate poverty and homelessness. We will be serving a variety of homeless guests while at the same time learning how we as a university can take action to assist those who are need of love and compassion. This will be an overnight experience in Portland during the Fall Semester..

Spring Break

New Orleans, Louisiana: March 22nd-28th

Total Cost: $1,150/team member

For the eighth year in a row, a team of Concordia students will travel to New Orleans, LA to spend five days working with an organization that addresses housing insecurity as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Volunteers will be working on a variety of projects depending on the needs of the community partner and the families served by their organization. No prior experience is necessary! This experience will focus on disaster relief and affordable housing.

San Francisco, California: March 22nd-28th

Total Cost: $700/team member

Volunteers will be working with an organization that will connect the CU group to a variety of service opportunities. The team will be working specifically in the Tenderloin District, which is an inner city area of San Francisco consisting of 1 square mile with 37,000 residents, which is 300 times more crowded than the rest of San Francisco. The team will work in this neighborhood to provide food, shelter, clothing, and positive relationships while running a school for children in the neighborhood. The experience will focus on three main issues: homelessness, low-income children and teens, and urban poverty.

Seattle, Washington: March 22-28th

Total Cost: $375/team member

Concordia students who are part of the Office of Multicultural Services Peer Mentoring program will be traveling to Seattle, WA for the second year to partner with local organizations working to address homelessness, hunger, and youth poverty. Volunteers will work on a variety of projects including: preparing and serving meals to the homeless population of downtown Seattle, tutoring in after-school programs, helping out at a shelter for homeless youth, and more. *NOTE*: Students who are a mentor/mentee in the Office of Multicultural Services Peer Mentoring Program will receive priority during selection for this team.

Summer Break

Atlanta, Georgia: April 26th-May 2nd

Total Cost: $850/team member

Concordia Students will travel to Atlanta, Georgia to partner with Lutheran Services of Georgia to assist with refugee families and individuals who are resettling in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Atlanta is one of the most prevalent places for refugees seeking to resettle in the United States. Volunteers will assist with language classes, helping families settle into their new homes, assist with senior center programming and help after school with children of refugees. This experience will focus on refugee resettlement and the issues including urban development that surround this process.

Port-a- Prince Haiti: May 2nd - May 10th

Total Cost: $2,200/team member

During May 2015, a team of Concordia students and staff/faculty will travel to Port-a-Prince, Haiti for one week to work with Forward Edge International, a Vancouver, WA based organization that is connected to local agencies in Haiti who serve their community through providing a medical clinic, a school, homes for boys, girls and widows who have been orphaned, and multiple housing communities. The team will have the opportunity to complete a number of needed work projects in the surrounding community, as well as interact with children in the various ministries Forward Edge partners with. This trip will be focusing on learning related to international development and poverty as it relates to communities affected by natural disasters.

How Alternative Break Leadership Experiences Work?

  • Students may apply for both a fall and spring/summer trip as noted in the application and, if selected, may attend a fall semester and spring semester trip. Decisions for fall trips and spring/summer trips are made separately and interest in one does not determine eligibility or ineligibility for the other.
  • All travel expenses, food, and lodging will be covered by the cost of the trip. For a spring/summer trip, the trip cost will be assessed as a lab fee connected to the 1-credit LDR course. For the Fall Urban Experience, the trip cost will be collected through the Office of Service Leadership and will not be connected to a lab fee or tuition in any way.
  • In the spring, students will enroll in the New Orleans, San Francisco, Atlanta, Seattle or Haiti LDR leadership course, which is a 1-credit elective course required for all participants. These classes will meet either weekly or bi-weekly and serve as an opportunity for the team to prepare for the experiences that will be had while on the trip. Students will have the opportunity to bond as a team, gain knowledge about the social issues and location that will be encountered on the trip, and prepare to serve those community needs well.

How to Apply?

  • If you'd like to express interest in receiving updates about Information Sessions, reminders for application deadlines, and any additional updates, please fill out an interest form.
  • Alternative Break Leadership Experience Participant Applications are available August 24th-and are due by 5pm on Monday, September 29th, and must be completed online.
  • After sending in your application, you will need to visit the Office of Service Leadership on the 1st floor of Hagen to sign up for an interview time - you must sign-up for an interview by 5pm on Friday, October 3rd.
  • Interviews will be conducted throughout late September and early October with team announcements being available by late October.

Note: This ABLE application process is competitive. Both your written application as well as your interview will be used in helping the Office of Service Leadership select outstanding teams of students for all trips.

Still have questions? Contact Kelsey Kava by email or 503-280-8677 or Amy Dickerson by email or 503-280-8679. Feel free to stop by the Office of Service Leadership on the first floor in Hagen as well to learn about these experiences.